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FCC: School Dropouts are due to WoW

By - Source: Tom's Guide | B 35 comments

According to the FCC Chairman and several members of academia, World of Warcraft and other video games are detrimental to college students everywhere.

The controversy started at the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus, where an academic adviser noted of a frightening trend he was beginning to see. “I accused one of them of coming in loaded from smoking dope, he looked so bad,” said adviser Vince Repesh of a troubled student who came into his office. In reality, the student was up all night playing video games. According to Repesh, the student in question had gone from straight A’s to F’s in many of his classes over the period of a year. “I tell parents during talks, I believe it’s one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it,” he said.

Mr. Repesh isn’t the only one at the institution who believes gaming is a real issue for today’s student. “These are very, very bright kids, and if you can’t get them back on track, you’ve lost a lot of potential,” said UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.

The story has now caught the attention of FCC Chairman Deborah Taylor Tate, who views Duluth’s problem as something that is now affecting students throughout the country. "With the explosion of educational resources available online, one might think parents would be 100% pleased with the internet’s role in their children’s lives," said Martin. According to the chairman, surveys from 2006 have shown that 59 percent of parents think the internet has been a totally positive influence on their children. This number is down from 67 percent in 2004.

"You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."

While Warcraft may be the easiest target because of its high number of players, the issue is easily one that applies to any and all online games, which have existed since the mid 1990s for computers and the early part of the decade for consoles.

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  • 2 Hide
    Pei-chen , December 12, 2008 10:03 AM
    Not new; this is why I don't play MMO.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2008 10:52 AM
    America's secondary public schools do a very poor job of preparing students for the vast amount of freedom and decision-making that they suddenly find in college. The answer isn't to limit those freedoms as young adults, but rather to do a better job preparing them for a world where they can spend 28 hours straight gaming, but shouldn't.
  • 5 Hide
    wasteoftime , December 12, 2008 10:58 AM
    You think that it's the public school's job to prepare students for the eventual freedom they will experience? Why not poor parenting? Is it really an educational institution's role to teach people how to spend their time wisely?

  • -4 Hide
    hemelskonijn , December 12, 2008 11:01 AM
    Those kids fuck up there live because they dont have a live give them one and the problem will be solved.
    I played WoW since day one and i played all GuildWars campaigns ...
    For years i played all Final Fantasy games and loads of RPG's and a smaller load of other games like starcraft.
    still i never missed out on anything important and i dont have any problem with not logging in for a while.

    But than again i DO have a live...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2008 11:01 AM
    "You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."

    .....

    I would really like to see where this stat came from....Sounds more like an opinion / attack to me. I dont play WoW, but I play a lot of other MMO's and games. If someone isn't smart enough to put the game down to go to class, then they really aren't as "bright" as Mrs. Kathryn A. Martin says they are huh?
  • -5 Hide
    snotling , December 12, 2008 12:22 PM
    Well, the good looking ones have sex and drugs, now there is an alternative for the nerdy and the ugly ones to waste their lives!
    There should be some sort of account limitator that refuse connexion after let's say... 4h in one day, with some sort of 1-3 hour bonus time if you haven't played for a few days or a higher limit on weekends, maybe 8 hours.
    Of course even with limits, real addicts would open multiple accounts to get their fix but would a parent accept TWO subscriptions per month on their credit card?
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2008 12:31 PM
    Why is everyone pointing the finger at video games? Why cant the individuals be responsible?!?!?! Thats like saying its the drugs fault that celebrities overdose, or its the pens fault you incorrectly spelled a word. Come on people! CAll a spade a sapde already! Stop shifting blame to where the blame is not supposed to be. Its these damn kids faults not the games, they cant bridle their passions and regulate their appetites. That is the fault of the individual and not the game.........
  • 3 Hide
    deuce271 , December 12, 2008 12:32 PM
    This is why I stopped playing MMOs. I lost so many days of my life eplaying Dark Age of Camelot. Thankfully I wouldnt play while I was at college. That was more because I didn't want to be called a nerd. But man when I 2was home for the summer how many hours I lost playing again. This is why I didn't pickup Warhammer. I work for a living now and just plain cannot afford to do it with my time. These games are funner than anything but way too time consuming to be
  • 5 Hide
    eccentric909 , December 12, 2008 1:06 PM
    I play WoW.. have been for 4 years now, so does my son. I'm in my 30's, he just became a teenager. I've held the same job doing web site and server administration for well over 7 years now, for a leading Fortune 50 company (not 500, but 50). I'm a single father, with sole custody of my child, who receives 0 child support. My son gets mostly As in school, with a few Bs here and there. He's missed 1 day of school this year, which was due to snow. I've not missed any work, except for planned vacation days and a personal day here and there. My live-in girlfriend also plays WoW with us and it is actually a very fun family activity, where we all interact together and enjoy ourselves. She goes to college and doesn't miss school due to some "need" to play an MMO.

    You can control your online gaming, or any other online habits quite easily. Unlike addiction to drugs or alcohol, where the disease can eat you up and spit you out, "addiction" to gaming is a joke and requires just a bit of self-discipline. If you notice yourself starting to fall behind or losing motivation to work or go to school, because of gaming, then you stop. People who compare an "addiction" to gaming to a real physical addiction to drugs or alcohol, give me a pretty hearty laugh.

    Blaming lack of self-discipline on a video game is the very wrong direction to take on the matter. Perhaps if the parents of these kids, didn't just use the TV/PC/Gaming Console as a baby-sitter and actually interacted with the kids, perhaps play some of these games with their children, or actually set some limits on their play time and show them self-discipline through example.. there most likely wouldn't be as big of a "problem" as this article tries state there is.

    Sure, the schools could help set an example as well, but this falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents and no one else.
  • 2 Hide
    frozenlead , December 12, 2008 1:16 PM
    It sounds like somebody's kid isn't disciplined, and they're searching for a scapegoat.

    a: "Who killed him?"
    b: "The gun! I swear, it was the gun! I was just holding it."
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , December 12, 2008 1:40 PM
    I know when I picked up Everquest in College, and spent hours playing Gran Turismo 3 (or was it 4?) my grades started to drop. Those games consumed a shitload of my time. Not blaming the games, but I do acknowledge that people need to be more responsible. I got over that whole MMORPG thing. Paying a monthly subscription made me feel like any time I wasn't playing was lost money. Now that I'm in the professional workforce, I barely turn on my gaming computer once a week, it that.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2008 1:43 PM
    Strong statement - but as stated earlier - it's called individual responsibility, if you want to waste your life like that, it's your call, after 18, you make that choice because you're an adult. The students that drop out of school because they are playing World of Warcraft all night if not affected by that would probably be out smoking pot and missing anyway. I think this "trend" is a load of crap, the Generation X just hasn't had their hands in video games as long as Generation Y so it's expected that they'd have something to say about it. What about the 30+ year olds that play WoW and waste their time on it, show up late for work or don't show up at all. You never see those in the news.
  • 1 Hide
    igot1forya , December 12, 2008 2:11 PM
    Quote:
    “I accused one of them of coming in loaded from smoking dope, he looked so bad,” said adviser Vince Repesh of a troubled student who came into his office. In reality, the student was up all night playing video games.


    I nearly failed High School cause I liked to sleep in a lot... not that I stayed up late or anything playing games... I just don't see why anyone should wake up at 6am for ANYTHING?

    I think the the student who was able come in for class even though he was up all night playing video games should be given a gold star for effort... I would have never even came to class :) 
  • 4 Hide
    malveaux , December 12, 2008 2:21 PM
    Sigh.

    Kids shoot people recently, and we blame `video games.' People shoot people all over the world in nations where there are no video games being played by the starving kids. We are terrible and violent. Wake up.

    Kids fail, and we blame `video games.' Well hell, we get addicted to whatever we please. Football much? They have to get special counsilers to make sure they get `passing' grades so that they can continue to play for the college/univ. They are that freaking bad about it. But no one is crying about that game--that game makes money for education. "Their" school, no less.

    Raise your kids with some damn priorities to know when to get their work/school done, THEN play, and we won't have this problem.

    If these big wigs want to blame anyone, they should be blaming the TERRIBLE PARENTING that our countries are experiencing. And why? Because they're the result of Baby Boomers. Why is today's youth completely ass backwards? Baby Boomer's kids with kids. It'll take a few more generations to get over that hump and get back to the idea of "WORK FOR WHAT YOU GET" instead of this "GIMME" attitude that spawned with these losers.

    Oh and not every kid needs to be in college/univ. Not everyone can make use of a degree or hack it with that kind of freedom or responsibility. Some countries weed these people out and make sure they get into other programs to get them into a good career. WAKE UP America. Not everyone is frigg'n equal. So stop wasting time on it and start focusing on meeting the NEEDS of an individual instead of injecting them into something they simply cannot handle.

    If a kid can't make the choice between video games and doing well in school to have a career for his LIFE of video games he'll want, then that kid doesn't need to be in our upper education schools. Make room for someone who wants to be there.

    And it's the parents fault.
  • 0 Hide
    cart0181 , December 12, 2008 3:02 PM
    Eccentric909I play WoW.. have been dsfadsfsadfdfdsfdsafdsffhgtn gbfgfdah what the fuck is wrong with the comment box?for 4 years now, so does my son. I'm in my 30's, he just became a teenager. I've held the same job doing web site and server administration for well over 7 years now, for a leading Fortune 50 company (not 500, but 50). I'm a single father, with sole custody of my child, who receives 0 child support. My son gets mostly As in school, with a few Bs here and there. He's missed 1 day of school this year, which was due to snow. I've not missed any work, except for planned vacation days and a personal day here and there. My live-in girlfriend also plays WoW with us and it is actually a very fun family activity, where we all interact together and enjoy ourselves. She goes to college and doesn't miss school due to some "need" to play an MMO.You can control your online gaming, or any other online habits quite easily. Unlike addiction to drugs or alcohol, where the disease can eat you up and spit you out, "addiction" to gaming is a joke and requires just a bit of self-discipline. If you notice yourself starting to fall behind or losing motivation to work or go to school, because of gaming, then you stop. People who compare an "addiction" to gaming to a real physical addiction to drugs or alcohol, give me a pretty hearty laugh. Blaming lack of self-discipline on a video game is the very wrong direction to take on the matter. Perhaps if the parents of these kids, didn't just use the TV/PC/Gaming Console as a baby-sitter and actually interacted with the kids, perhaps play some of these games with their children, or actually set some limits on their play time and show them self-discipline through example.. there most likely wouldn't be as big of a "problem" as this article tries state there is.Sure, the schools could help set an example as well, but this falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents and no one else.

  • 2 Hide
    cart0181 , December 12, 2008 3:14 PM
    @Eccentric909: Good for you that you can get someone pregnant at 15 years old and then somehow turn out okay working for a Fortune 50 company. You're obviously an exception to the rule here. If you check the statistics, most people that make those choices don't turn out so well. But this has nothing to do with the article since WoW wasn't around back then. It's great you're son is doing well too, he must receive better parenting than some of the less fortunate ones. But to say that MMO addiction, WoW addiction, or video game addiction in general isn't a "real" addiction is naieve. Researchers are finally starting to realize what a problem some of these games are becoming,. WoW is especially "bad". Personally, I don't see the attraction. I used to play some offline RPG's and they were even my favorite genre at one point, but they've always been such "time wasters." Personally, I would NEVER pay a monthly subscription fee to play a video game, no way. My younger brother has a problem with this game so I've seand I've seen other people with this addiction and the "symptoms" are impossible to ignore and are classic examples of any addiction. True, there are no physical or chemical withdrawl symptoms, but that isn't all there is to diagnosing a true addiction. I do agree with you and most of the other posters here though that it is due to lack of parenting and self-discipline. And it's not the school's job to teach that. This has been very hard to type BTW because I can't see what I'm typing. So I hope this made sense. Thx.
  • 0 Hide
    kamel5547 , December 12, 2008 3:26 PM
    The issue with these "cause and effect" assumptions is the fact that the effect may very well have occurred with a different cause either way. If you aren't engaged in what you do or motivated somehow, its likely you will give up with some sort of excuse. Saying that video game addiction is the new problem, is simply identifying the latest crutch, something new will come along and people who don't have the motivation to suceed will move on to it, and it will be blamed for drop-outs.

    Personally, I missed plenty of classes due to professors being unbearable (still graduated fine), and looked forward to others because the professors were great. It had nothing to do with anything other than a lack of motivation to go those classes. While I'm sure there is a group of people addicted to MMO's, I think if they did not exist something else would have replaced them as the source of their addiction.
  • 1 Hide
    blackened144 , December 12, 2008 3:51 PM
    Quote:
    Sure, the schools could help set an example as well, but this falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents and no one else.


    While I agree with most of your post I have to disagree with the above quote. These "kids" are in college. Sure the parents have their own share of the blame as far as how they raised their kids, but these "kids" are actually adults and they have no one to blame but themselves. Its called personal responsibility.
  • 1 Hide
    JoeAverage , December 12, 2008 3:55 PM
    I played Everquest a long time ago and I do think that I played it WAY too much. I'm sure it was a negative influence on my grades. I never missed school or work because of my EQ addiction. But I did miss some homework and studied less for a few tests because I played EQ longer than I promised myself I would.
    Before I really got hooked on video games I was a college drunk, I had even been placed on academic probation twice for dropping classes and bad grades. I worked as a bartender during college and we would party after work many nights until sunrise.
    Curiously once I got hooked on EQ I virtually stopped drinking, I don't really enjoy being drunk while playing video games as it makes my play style and typing so sloppy. EQ helped me quit smoking too because it was such a hassle to take a smoke break in EQ. I found that while I still wasn't getting all my homework done, I wasn't hungover so I actually was making it to class on time for once. Playing EQ saved me a lot of money and kept me out of trouble.
    I definatly missed classes more from hangovers and partying than from videogames but I probably spent fewer hours on an average day doing homework as an EQ addict than if I wasn't one. I finished College with a 3.2 GPA not a great score but about a B average. I think that in many ways my Video Game Addiction helped me transition from a very unhealthy life style to a "bad" lifestyle but a managable one.
    By helping me replace some very bad habits with other bad habits that had less severe consequences I made it through college. I have many friends who never managed the transition. They are addicted to "fun". They have to go out and party everynight or they will go nuts. Many of them have had leagal problems, financial problems, or relationship problems because they simply cannot stop.

    These days I still play video games but not anywhere near as much as before. I'm just not as interested in them anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    cart0181 , December 12, 2008 4:04 PM
    Here are a few links on
    the subject:
    http://ocw.mit.edu
    /NR/rdonlyres/Economics/14-33Spring-2005/E71E60BF-027D-4DB1-B53B-8F6061E9AC91/0/rational_appendi.pdf



    Particularly interesting:
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